Keirsten Heckel

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June 28, 2016

The Importance of Being a Connected Educator

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Any educator knows that being connected in the EdTech community takes hard work, dedication, commitment and most of all, passion. Attending conferences, engaging in countless Twitter chats and staying up-to-date with a network of educators and influencers can seem like a daunting task, but the outcome outweighs the work by a landslide.

Here are three important traits of a connected educator:

  • Learning from like-minded educators
  • Connecting with EdTech companies (we might know of one in particular)
  • Taking advantage of professional development opportunities

Learning from like-minded educators

Who knows what’s happening in the education industry better than teachers themselves? Learning from other educators is a constructive way to discuss success stories with one another, relate to their challenges, share ideas and realize that you are not alone in this journey. Tips and tricks from other educators creates value in that you hear first-hand how a new app, technology or teaching environment works. You can apply what you learn to your own classroom.

Connecting with EdTech Companies

Collaborating with an EdTech company, like Squirrels, can provide educators with many new opportunities. Most EdTech companies offer programs to provide education leaders with resources that encourage and support professional development. We are lucky enough to have our own group of connected leaders called Alpha Squirrels who are experts and advocates for our screen-mirroring technology. We provide them with the funds, opportunities and connections that will transform their profession and in return, they create discussion about their experiences with our products and how they can be used with technology that’s already in the classroom.

Taking advantage of professional development opportunities

While you’re busy learning from educators and working closely with EdTech companies, it’s important to do it in an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration. Creating an environment for teachers to learn from other teachers while discussing their favorite EdTech solutions is important. That’s why we are big supporters of Edcamps. This year alone we have sponsored 17 Edcamps all across the U.S. More recently, we sponsored Edcamp Magic, which was attended by four of our Alpha Squirrels. Most of them have never had a chance to meet in person, and this event allowed them the opportunity to do so. Each of those Alpha Squirrels came out of that experience with deeper roots in the EdTech community, ideas and friendships with colleagues they can treasure for years to come.

 

June 8, 2016

Squirrels Creative Team Attends HOW Design Live Conference

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One of the perks of being a member of the Squirrels team is the opportunity for professional development. We believe professional development is vital to the growth of our employees. Plus, it’s always refreshing to meet and learn from new, creative-minded individuals.

Our entire creative team took advantage of this ideology to travel to the hot city of Atlanta to attend the HOW Design Live conference. Yes, the rest of us were jealous.

The HOW Design Live conference is a five-day event that gives attendees the chance to network with industry leaders, join breakout sessions to learn tips/tricks to apply to their work and hear from keynote speakers who challenge conventional thinking.

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The conference thrives on creating positive energy through outside-the-box ideas and events including a 5k run through the streets of Atlanta, a costume-themed closing party and many other opportunities to allow people to explore what they're passionate about.

When reflecting on which sessions were a home run, it was hard for our creative team to pick just one. Here are a few that stood out:

  • David Lesue – 7 Things Every Designer Should Know Before Becoming a Creative Director
  • Stefan Mumaw – Storybuilding: Using Story to Connect Brands with Humans
  • Von Glitschka – Seek, Hustle and Create

These sessions gave our creative team a new outlook on how to manage a team of highly creative people, engage consumers by creating a brand storylines and how to pursue a graphical design career in small, practical steps.

If you’re wondering how to sum up the work done at a creative conference, we’ll leave you with this quote by graphic designer Chip Kidd:

“The design has to work when I leave the room.”

June 3, 2016

The Squirrels Monthly Edcamp Roundup – May 2016

It’s that time again, folks! As we look forward to warm summer days, we reflect on all the wonderful professional development opportunities we helped sponsor at Edcamps in May. Our sponsorships spanned across Maryland (EdcampMayaF), Tennessee (Edcamp GigCity), Illinois (Edcamp Illinois) and finished up in our home state of Ohio (Edcamp Cleveland). Now that’s a recipe for a successful month!

Edcamp Gig City

Since we are not always able to attend Edcamps, we love to follow along with the attendees on social media to see what educators are talking about and, of course, how much fun they are having.

Among other things, our May sponsorship donations provided breakfast, lunch, coffee and even a salad/fruit bar for the Edcamps. We’re hungry just thinking about it!

The following discussion topics produced the most hype in May:

  • Blended learning
  • Google Classroom
  • Tech coaching
  • Tech to support reading
  • Flipped classroom
  • Classroom management with tech
  • 1:1 classrooms and managing student behavior
  • 21st century teaching practices
  • Student blogging
  • Gamification

All in all, it was a great month, and we are grateful to all of the Edcamp organizers who allowed us to be part of the experience! We are always so impressed to see how dedicated educators are to their work.

Edcam Illinois - Amanda Kriegl

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

May 3, 2016

The Squirrels Monthly Roundup – April 2016

Squirrels April Edcamps

April was a busy month here at the Squirrels HQ. We prepared donations, coupons, prize packs and lanyards for nearly 1,000 Edcamps attendees in three different states and two countries!

Two of our very own Alpha Squirrels, Travis Lape and Kyle Pearce, coordinated Edcamp South Dakota and EdcampSWO (Southwest Ontario). With these two events in different areas of the country, we saw great insight on the challenges educators face in their classrooms, organic or technology driven.

Edcamp Ashland and EdcampNEO (Northeast Ohio) were next, and a little closer to home. We loved the opportunity to work with these local schools to learn how they incorporate technology into their classroom environment.

We didn’t stop there! We ended our month-long Edcamp journey on a high note with EdcampGroveCity and EdcampOhio. Although we could not attend either of these two events,  the attendees had a great day of conversation and problem solving.

Attendees were able to discover some powerful solutions to implement in their own classroom setting to create a fun and efficient place to learn. We’re proud of all the hard work accomplished by these schools and educators.

We want to give a shoutout to our Alpha Squirrels, Laurie Green, Kelly Croy and Zee Poerio, who attended some of these Edcamps to collaborate with fellow educators and tell others how they use our Reflector 2 desktop screen-mirroring software.

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If you weren’t able to attend any of these Edcamps this month, here are some of the popular discussion topics:

  • Twitter 101
  • Tools for the classroom
  • Technology integration tools
  • Video creation tools
  • Formative assessment
  • Flipped classroom
  • Twitter chats
  • Classroom management\

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

April 8, 2016

Squirrels to Attend South Dakota Technology and Innovation in Education Conference

TIE SD Logo

The Squirrels team is excited to be part of the 30th annual TIE SD conference next week in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we have the opportunity to demonstrate and showcase our products.

This will also be a beneficial time to gain a better understanding of how teachers in this area of the country are integrating technology into their classrooms.

We’re excited to make the cross-country trip to South Dakota to expand our physical footprint in the EdTech community and share this professional development opportunity with teachers, network administrators and educational administrators. Plus, it’s always fun to travel and experience new parts of the country!

The TIE SD EdTech conference strives to make a difference in the educational environment by providing quality resources and staying up to date with industry-leading technology. Attendees are provided with the opportunity to hear prominent speakers as well as an exhibit hall filled with vendors from all over the country, providing them with tools to help make learning more fun for teachers and students.

If you want to learn more about our products, be sure to stop by booth 101 or one of these sessions:

  • “Digital Dumpster Diving” presented by Kelly Rexine (@kellyrexine) on Monday at 10:55 a.m.
  • “Secrets to Saving your District Money and Time Using Technology” co-presented by Eli Harden and Jordan Braa (@jorbaa) on Monday at 2:25 p.m.

Also, catch active member of the EdTech community and Alpha Squirrel, Travis Lape (@travislape), presenting on “Student Driven Digital Portfolios – SeeSaw,” on Monday at 10:55 a.m.

If you’re in the area next week, be sure to stop by and say hello at booth 101!

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. We create high-quality, budget-friendly screen mirroring and device management software that’s compatible with today’s most popular devices. To date, our software can be found in hundreds of thousands of classrooms, businesses and homes. Follow our blog for all the latest product updates, Squirrels news and technology insight!